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curse. Now at the Johns Hopkins University. [v] That horse is a very fine one, but you can't ride him. Leap the threshold! Categories: Aculeo & Amunet | Tags: Aculeo & Amunet, Greek, Greek language, Joss Whedon, Latin, profanities, Roman | Permalink. On the plus side, that superstitiousness came the proliferation of some super fun curses. In Latin: Docimedis perdidit manicilia dua qui illas involavit ut mentes suas perdat et oculos suos in fano ubi destinat, Translation: “Docimedis has lost two gloves and asks that the thief responsible should lose their minds and eyes in the goddess’ temple.”. Now, I’m no fan of gratuitous profanity, and yet as everything else in a story, profanity too can be used to define a character, to underscore a scene or situation. “Es mundus excrementi” – You are a pile of sh*t. “Es stercus!”. Classy, and it fits with the background. damn him I blast him utterly! In Latin: Inplicate lacinia Vincentzo Tzaritzoni, ut urssos ligare non possit, omni urssum perdat, non occidere possit in die Merccuri in omni ora iam iam, cito cito, facite!. Marble tablet of A.D. 218 found at Rome. Well, if you don’t have a voodoo doll handy, I have a solution for you — ancient Roman curses. In the Republic-turned-Empire, curses were written on tablets (known as defixiones) and stored with people in their tombs to protect them in the afterlife. Apparently bathhouse thefts were rampant, and poor Docimedis lost his favorite gloves while taking a soak. (i) A round tablet of lead found apparently at Cumae. [i] Why do you now seek my advice? So, how does one go about making his female character say “F*ck!” a lot, but with class and elegance? Time to find some other dead language I can use to my advantage! The ancient Romans were good at many things — engineering, warfare, politics, finding new and ingenious ways to murder their friends and family. Give the gift of knowledge with our official 'did you know' book. Oh! It’s a tool, just like any other. Inscriptions from the time of the Roman Republic, translated by E.H.Warmington (1940). Some pretty strange ones, too, and funny. SWEAR WORDS & INSULTS: “Es stultior asino” – You are dumber than an a**. As usual, the web is our friend. I remember when I was 14-15 years old and I looked through our (mine and my fellow classmates) Ancient Greek dictionary and stumbled upon some of these words and expressions – it was hilarious. Oracular replies found on a bronze tablet at Forum Novum. [iv] Don't let falsehoods arise from truth by being a false judge. [ix] An untrustworthy foe will arise from a trustworthy man, unless you take care. In Latin: Inplicate lacinia Vincentzo Tzaritzoni, ut urssos ligare non possit, omni urssum perdat, non occidere possit in die Merccuri in omni ora iam iam, cito cito, facite! Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' eyebrows, Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' eyelids. She’ll still say “F*ck!” a lot, but in more complicated, “Classical” ways. ( Log Out /  Translation: “Entangle the nets of Vincenzus Zarizo, may he be unable to chain bears, may he lose with every bear, may he be unable to kill a bear on Wednesday, in any hour, now, now, quickly, quickly, make it happen!” There’s a lot of fun to be had writing historical fantasy. It is too late by now. The Elizabethans invented creative swearing, I think. [xi] Seek you joyfully and willingly, and you will be glad for ever, because of what shall be given. (18) call down solemn curse on. detesto, detestor. For instance – in my Aculeo and Amunet stories, Amunet tends to be pretty sharp-tongued. calling down of curses. Also, the fact that the worst of the punishment was reserved for a female culprit highlights the long-ago roots of patriarchy and misogyny in society.   |   Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' eye-pupils. Have you ever felt the need to curse someone, but weren’t sure how to go about such an antiquated ritual in your modern life? I give you the head of Plotius, slave of Avonia. You have death far from you. What you ask does not exist. And let not bane and bale, O Marmar, assail more folk. Unfortunately, they also had an Achilles heel — they were deeply superstitious. Change ). . Should there so exist any written curse, great or small - in what manner Plotius has, according to the laws of magic, composed any curse and entrusted it to writing, in such manner I consign and hand him over to thee, so that you may consign and hand over that fellow, in the month of February. Processional Hymn? Be at rest and enjoy life. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. [x] I command it, and if he does it for him, he will be glad for ever. The records of a meeting of the brethren in that year. And since people haven’t changed all that much in the past two or three thousand years, there’s a good chance that ancient Roman revenge is still useful today. So it might not be so applicable to modern life, unless your sworn enemy works at a zoo or, like, Yellowstone. . So I consign him as victim to thee, Proserpina, unless o Proserpina, unless I ought to call thee Goddess of the Lower World. imprecatio, inprecatio. May they wrestle and wrestle it out with him, overcome and overwhelm him unceasingly until they tear away his life. . Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Spicing up Amunet’s verbal armoury helps me define her character a lot, and shifting from some expressions to others also helps in tracing her evolution – she’ll never become a goody-two-shoes, but some of Aculeo’s Roman gravitas will probably rub on her. Translation: “Entangle the nets of Vincenzus Zarizo, may he be unable to chain bears, may he lose with every bear, may he be unable to kill a bear on Wednesday, in any hour, now, now, quickly, quickly, make it happen!”. Summoned to Hell's court: Naevia Secunda, freedwoman of Lucius, or whatever other name she goes by. Song of the Twelve Arval brothers, perhaps of the sixth century B.C. Leap the threshold! Therefore I started collecting ancient Greek and Latin profanities. Wikipedia has a nice selection of Latin bad words… And it’s actually easier to find Latin swear-words and phrases than Greek ones. Paleontologist. . And let not bane and bale, O Marmar, assail more folk. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. and you shall always escape from it. Hand him over, consign him, that he may not be able to behold, see, and contemplate any month further! Halt! I’d say something like “go to the crows!” and they’d think I insulted them and… Well, it’s like explaining a joke – all the fun is deflated when it’s no longer a mystery. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. Consign that man to the fourth-day, the third-day, the every-day fever. Death cannot be fastened on you before the doom is come. Leap the threshold! Any comments. Proserpina Salvia, I give you Plotius' nostrils, lips, ears, nose, and his tongue and teeth so that Plotius may not be able to utter what it is that gives him pain; his neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, so that he may not be able to help himself at all; his chest, liver, heart, lungs, so that he may not be able to feet what gives him pain; his abdomen, belly, navel, sides so that he may not be able to sleep: his shoulder-blades, so that he may not be able to sleep well; his sacred part, so that he may not be able to make water; his buttocks, vent, thighs, knees, legs, shins, feet, ankles, soles, toes, nails, that he may not be able to stand by his own aid. Lucius Harines, son of Herius Maturus, Gaius Eburius, Pomponius, Marcus Caedicius son of Marcus, Numerius Andripius, son of Numerius. So, back when I was writing Bride of the Swamp God I said to myself, what if Amunet curses in Greek or in Latin? This boils down to wanting a performer to crash and burn (the drunk woman on a horse was a common joke), so if you’re at war with an actor, musician, or comedian, this one is definitely for you. of the whole lot of them stand upright! Yes, Aristophanes is responsible for a wide catalog of profanities. Mixed Latin and Oscan. It would not be different from what Joss Whedon did in Firefly – his character cursing and swearing in Chinese. Classy, and it fits with the background. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! After the dance, at a given signal, public slaves came in and took away the books. [ii] Believe you what they say? [xvi] Spurn not what you flee, what you toss aside, I mean what is granted you. May the . In Latin: Qui mihi Vilbiam involavit sic liquat comodo aqua. Interpretation of the names, etc., is not certain. (ii) A small bronze plate found in a sepulchre at Cumae. Therefore I started collecting ancient Greek and Latin profanities. (iii) A curse by enchantment. It would not be different from what Joss Whedon did in Firefly – his character cursing and swearing in Chinese. May their breath be dry! Beat the ground! ( Log Out /  Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Our skimmable newsletter is delivered to your inbox each week, giving you 5 things you need to read and get smarter. Blast him! Be full satisfied, fierce Mars. I love confusing my friends with Ancient Greek swear words, but sometimes it backfires. And then there’s Barry Baldwin‘s Classical Swearing: A Vade-Mecum, that certainly provides food for thought – and also provides English equivalents of pretty baroque Latin and Greek insults. [xvii] Why do you seek advice after the occasion? In Latin: Humanum quis sustulit Verionis palliolum sive res illius, qui illius minus fecit, ut illius mentes, memorias deiectas sive mulierem sive eas, cuius Verionis res minus fecit, ut illius manus, caput, pedes vermes, cancer, vermitudo interet, membra medullas illius interet, Translation: “The human who stole Verio’s cloak or his things, who deprived him of his property, may he be bereft of his mind and memory, be it a woman or those who deprived Verio of his property, may the worms, cancer, and maggots penetrate his hands, head, feet, as well as his limbs and marrows.”. [vii] He fears all men; it is better to chase what he is afraid of. Then the priests, the doors being closed, girt up their robes, took the books, and dividing up danced and sang a song to the following words: Oh! Oh! Written in prose. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Lead plate. [iii] If you are wise, about uncertainty beware lest things become certain. They must have been pretty nice for him to ask for this kind of eternal payment. Now, the Aculeo & Amunet stories take place at the tail end of the Classic Era – my characters are probably talking to each other in Greek, sometimes switching to Latin*. In Latin: Sosio de Eumolpo mimo ne enituisse poteat. . O wife of Pluto, good and beautiful Proserpina (unless I ought to call thee Salvia), pray tear away from Plotius health, body, complexion, strength, faculties. [xv] After all your hopes have fallen do you really ask my advice? Ebria vi monam agere nequeati in eqoleo, Translation: “Sosio must never do better than the mime Eumolpos. Ell[…] muta qui eam involavit, Translation: “May the person who carried off Vilbia from me become liquid as the water. You ask advice like a fool. By turns address you all the Gods of Sowing. Curse tablets, known to researchers as defixiones, were a popular form of expression in the Roman Empire from the 5th century BCE to the 5th century CE. “Te futueo et caballum tuum” – Screw you and the horse you rode in on. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), How to be a pulp hero for less than 100 bucks, Quindici mesi, ventitré ebook | strategie evolutive, Shadufs, prodigal sons, cuckolds and other anachronisms | Karavansara, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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